1. Carolyn CARLSON
    How old is the ocean, 2019
    Indian ink and gouache on Arches paper
    57,5 x 76 cm
  2. Carolyn CARLSON
    I must walk, 1997
    Indian ink on Arches paper
    66 x 92 cm
  3. Carolyn CARLSON
    The Wolf looked out, 1995
    Idian ink on Arches velum paper
    57,5 x 77 cm
  4. Carolyn CARLSON
    I am no longer a child, 1985
    Indian ink on paper
    32 x 23,9 cm

    Collection du CNAP - Centre National des Arts Plastiques
  5. Carolyn CARLSON
    Those whose crowns of thorn, 1985
    Indian ink on paper
    30,1 x 23,9 cm

    Collection du CNAP - Centre National des Arts Plastiques
  6. Carolyn CARLSON
    The traveler, 1988
    Indian ink on paper
    32 x 23,9 cm

    Collection du CNAP - Centre National des Arts Plastiques


During her formation in New York, while dancing for Alwin Nikolais, Carolyn Carlson frequented the American avant-garde of the 1960s, such as the composers and musicians Barre Philips, John Cage and Philip Glass, or the philosopher and lighting designer John Davis, who became her companion. At that time she realized her first ink drawings, made in one breath as part of an initiation to Zen meditation. There she found a key to her work as a dancer, "the joy of making spontaneous gestures without any idea in mind, just the act of doing" (the artist's words) and from then she has never stopped to unite her dance practice with the more confidential ones of calligraphy and writing.

As a source of contemplation, but also of inspiration and poetic creation, spontaneous drawing sometimes mingles with words, quotations and poems, which are the fruit of a longer period of time, composition and reflection. Two temporalities which, by their cohabitation on paper, seem to designate the contrary and yet complementary energies which constitute for Carolyn Carlson the elements of an instinctive control of the perfection of the gesture. Here poetry escapes from language to express itself differently in space, through line (that of the body, sign or letter) and movement (of the hand, mind and heart).

Carolyn Carlson has created more than a hundred pieces, many of which constitute major works in the history of dance: Density 21.5, Blue Lady, Signes (created in collaboration with the painter Olivier Debré), Writings on Water, and Dialogue with Rothko. In 2006, her work was awarded by the first Golden Lion ever given to a choreographer by the Venice Biennale. She is also Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, and Officier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Founder of Atelier de Paris - Carolyn Carlson at the Cartoucherie in 1999, she was, with the Carolyn Carlson Company that she is directing today, an associate artist at the Théâtre National de Chaillot from 2014 to 2016.

In 2011, she donated her archives to France. Kept at the BnF they were exhibited there for the first time to the public in 2013/2014. Since then, her graphic work has been exhibited at La Piscine museum in Roubaix (2017), agnès b. in Paris (2018) and in Arles at the Chapelle du Méjan (2019).

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